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Why you should support local and shop seasonally

Why you should support local and shop seasonally

Why you should support local and shop seasonally

If you hadn't noticed, either unconsciously or with aggressive awareness, the fruits and vegetables you can get in any grocery store in the late spring and summer months in Toronto are just superior. The strawberries are deep red and sweet, peaches are out of this world, you can finally find basil again, and everything is big and beautiful.

It's because, in the spring and summer months, most of the fruits and vegetables we see are sourced locally from Ontario farms; we have a limited harvest season because of our climate, but when it's here, it's here, and cooking and eating become highlights again.

The Food Terminal Toronto

Restaurants and higher-end grocery stores can get dibs at the Food Terminal (TO's main produce distribution centre) or source their fruits and vegetables privately, but for us, regular folk, who can't get a private jet full of premium mangoes from the Philippines every week, shopping seasonally, or basing groceries/cooking off of what is in season locally, is a fun challenge and a great way to be aware of where our food actually comes from.

A great way to shop seasonally and support local is to go to the various farmer's market pop-ups that happen during the season (refer to our guide). By supporting local Ontario farms and grocery stores that have Ontario suppliers, we are bringing money to these farms so they can invest in greenhouse technologies. Our greenhouses aren't top tier, they need work and money, and currently, the output from them isn't much. Still, if we continue uplifting our Ontario farmers, they can continue expanding their greenhouses, and we'll be able to buy amazing fruits and vegetables not just in what we know as Ontario produce prime time. Imagine having sweet, red strawberries as early as March!

Another reason to cook with the seasons is to get the best bang for your buck; prices drop when something is in season because it's a) being produced locally and cheaper to acquire and; b) available in large quantities (one way to observe this is to pick one vegetable or fruit and watch how its prices/quality change, I use green onions). In the winter at my local grocer, they can get as expensive as $1.59 a bunch for skinny, sad-looking onions, and at the height of summer, prices can drop to $0.79 for healthy, thick stems. These fresh fruits and vegetables also have more nutritional value; after picking, fruits and veg lose many nutrients, so if you're getting them from a local farm 3-hours away, you are guaranteed tastier, more nutritious produce.

If you need any more convincing to buy local and in-season, let it be the environment! Less energy for transportation, storage, refrigeration, and packaging, and local farmers care about and maintain their land in ways that corporate farms struggle to (easier for them to just abandon the fields and buy more when the fertility of their land drops).

Food consciousness is super important, and if you can afford to, it pays in the long-term to support local farms because they can then build up their infrastructure to be able to source produce year-round. Shopping seasonally (and buying asparagus right now because it's asparagus season, baby!) is one way to begin your journey of food awareness.

Tags:

St. Jacobs Farmers' Market

Kawartha Choice FarmFresh Toronto

The Food Terminal Toronto

Ontario Farms

Why you should support local and shop seasonally

News

20 days ago

Why you should support local and shop seasonally

Rosa Kumar

Rosa Kumar

Instagram

If you hadn't noticed, either unconsciously or with aggressive awareness, the fruits and vegetables you can get in any grocery store in the late spring and summer months in Toronto are just superior. The strawberries are deep red and sweet, peaches are out of this world, you can finally find basil again, and everything is big and beautiful.

It's because, in the spring and summer months, most of the fruits and vegetables we see are sourced locally from Ontario farms; we have a limited harvest season because of our climate, but when it's here, it's here, and cooking and eating become highlights again.

The Food Terminal Toronto

Restaurants and higher-end grocery stores can get dibs at the Food Terminal (TO's main produce distribution centre) or source their fruits and vegetables privately, but for us, regular folk, who can't get a private jet full of premium mangoes from the Philippines every week, shopping seasonally, or basing groceries/cooking off of what is in season locally, is a fun challenge and a great way to be aware of where our food actually comes from.

A great way to shop seasonally and support local is to go to the various farmer's market pop-ups that happen during the season (refer to our guide). By supporting local Ontario farms and grocery stores that have Ontario suppliers, we are bringing money to these farms so they can invest in greenhouse technologies. Our greenhouses aren't top tier, they need work and money, and currently, the output from them isn't much. Still, if we continue uplifting our Ontario farmers, they can continue expanding their greenhouses, and we'll be able to buy amazing fruits and vegetables not just in what we know as Ontario produce prime time. Imagine having sweet, red strawberries as early as March!

Another reason to cook with the seasons is to get the best bang for your buck; prices drop when something is in season because it's a) being produced locally and cheaper to acquire and; b) available in large quantities (one way to observe this is to pick one vegetable or fruit and watch how its prices/quality change, I use green onions). In the winter at my local grocer, they can get as expensive as $1.59 a bunch for skinny, sad-looking onions, and at the height of summer, prices can drop to $0.79 for healthy, thick stems. These fresh fruits and vegetables also have more nutritional value; after picking, fruits and veg lose many nutrients, so if you're getting them from a local farm 3-hours away, you are guaranteed tastier, more nutritious produce.

If you need any more convincing to buy local and in-season, let it be the environment! Less energy for transportation, storage, refrigeration, and packaging, and local farmers care about and maintain their land in ways that corporate farms struggle to (easier for them to just abandon the fields and buy more when the fertility of their land drops).

Food consciousness is super important, and if you can afford to, it pays in the long-term to support local farms because they can then build up their infrastructure to be able to source produce year-round. Shopping seasonally (and buying asparagus right now because it's asparagus season, baby!) is one way to begin your journey of food awareness.

Tags:

St. Jacobs Farmers' Market

Kawartha Choice FarmFresh Toronto

The Food Terminal Toronto

Ontario Farms